Richard M. Stallman, president and founder of the Free Software Foundation has reacted strongly to recent moves by Canonical to integrate Amazon search results in Unity Dash. Benjamin Kerensa, an internationally recognized open-source enthusiast and community manager of OpenPhoto reached out to RMS regarding the issue, to which he replied:
1. Users’ privacy. If Canonical gets this data, it will be forced to hand it over to various governments.
2. Amazon. People should not buy from Amazon (see http://stallman.org/amazon.html), so it is bad to suggest buying from Amazon.
Users had earlier reacted to privacy issues reagarding Amazon lens to which Canonical has already taken stern measuers like encrypting user input so that it cant be accessed by third party, and a setting to turn the results off. Also it added a legal notice in the dash so that user has the clear idea of whats going on. However, the lens is on by default and users will be presented with Amazon results if they search in Ubuntu 12.10 Unity dash.
Canonical is expanding the areas of making money, and this include the Amazon lens, donations in download pages etc.
RMS has specified several reasons for users to not use Amazon. This include:
- Amazon publishes ebooks designed to attack your freedom (PDF or html).
- Amazon's on-line music "sales" have some of the same problems as the ebooks: users are required to identify themselves and sign a contract that denies them the freedoms they would have with a CD.
- Amazon cut off service to Wikileaks, claiming that whistleblowing violates its terms of service. It had no need to go to court to prove this, because if you rent a server from Amazon, you have no rights.
- Amazon squeezes small publishers. For instance, Amazon cut off Swindle sales for an independent book distributor in order to press for bigger discounts. (The article ends by promoting ebooks for another platform, the Shnook from Barnes and Noble. While that company is not as nasty to small publishers, its ebooks do violate your freedom in most of the same ways.)
- Amazon doesn't just compete with independent book stores, it arrogantly seeks to destroy them. Independent book stores urge people not to buy from Amazon.
- Amazon was a member of ALEC. ALEC is the right-wing lobbying group that promotes voter-suppression laws and "shoot first" laws, as well as attacks against wages and working conditions in the US. Amazon quit ALEC after public pressure in May 2012, but I am sure it still seeks the same nasty policies that ALEC advocated and is waiting for a new tool to achieve them.
(Copyright (c) 2011-2012 Richard Stallman
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You can read all the reasons here.